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Sunway Gives China HPC Independence

March 23, 2021

Author: Aakash Jani

Jiangnan (江南) Computing Lab (JCL) recently disclosed details of Sunway (神威), a made-in-China architecture that powers what was once the world’s most powerful supercomputer. JCL created the Sunway SW26010 processor as part of a supercomputer using only domestic technology. It manufactures the chip in China using SMIC’s 28nm node and created custom multithreading software to reduce foreign dependencies. This plan proved foresighted when the US began withholding its technology from China’s top supercomputers.

The SW26010 contains 260 cores and operates at 1.45GHz. JCL partitioned it into four core groups that connect through a network-on-a-chip (NoC). The groups are further divided into three units: the management-processing element, the compute-processing-element cluster, and the memory interface. The chip delivers 3.1 trillion FP64 operations per second (Tflop/s) and has a PCIe Gen3 interface for chip-to-chip communication. It appears only in Sunway systems.

Using the Sunway chip, the TaihuLight supercomputer delivers 125 quadrillion FP32 operations per second (Pflop/s). It employs 10.6 million cores with 1.3 petabytes (PB) of memory and consumes 15.4 megawatts (MW). Other top Chinese supercomputers employ x86 or other foreign processors. TaihuLight topped the supercomputer charts when it became operational in 2016; it currently ranks fourth, behind the top-ranked Fugaku of Japan and two American systems.

JCL also disclosed details on its forthcoming supercomputer, which will feature the next-generation Sunway processor. That system will employ 82,000 nodes to cross the momentous exascale threshold, with a goal of launching later this year.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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